WASHINGTON — In a pair of major victories for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that married same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits and, by declining to decide a case from California, effectively allowed same-sex marriages there.
The rulings leave in place laws banning same-sex marriage around the nation, and the court declined to say whether there was a constitutional right to such unions. But in clearing the way for same-sex marriage in California, the nation’s most populous state, the court effectively increased to 13 the number of states that allow it.
The decisions will only intensify the fast-moving debate over same-sex marriage, and the clash in the Supreme Court reflected the one around the nation. In the hushed courtroom Wednesday morning, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced the majority opinion striking down the federal law in a stately tone that indicated he was delivering a civil rights landmark. After he finished, he sat stonily, looking straight ahead, while Justice Antonin Scalia unleashed a cutting dissent.
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that it would implement the Article 6 of the Constitution in the Pervez Musharraf treason case even if the sky falls.
The grim ruling came during the hearing of a set of identical petitions by a three-member bench of the apex court comprising Justice Jawad S. Khawaja, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan.
The petitions seek the trial of former President Gen. (retd) Pervez Musharraf for high treason for abrogating the Constitution.The apex court observed that hearing into the instant case would not be a futile exercise but would be decided in accordance with the law.
“There is no question of futility and the case would be decided in accordance with the law,” remarked Justice Khawaja while responding to Musharraf’s counsel Ahmed Raza Kasuri.
He further remarked that under the law, Secretary Ministry of Interior had to lodge a complaint against Musharraf under the Article 6 of Constitution read with High Treason (Punishment) Act 1973 for subverting or abrogating the Constitution.
Justice Khilji Arif Hussain remarked that if those responsible for fulfilling their responsibilities failed, the court would do it accordingly.
Writing of history or triumph of amnesia? – By Ayaz Amir
“Historic”, we are being told — and told without end — is what the judgment of their Supreme Court lordships is. General (r) Pervez Musharraf’s Nov 3, 2007, action has been declared “unconstitutional” and “civil society” is ecstatic, some of our wilder drumbeaters assuring us that the doors on military interventionism have been closed forever. Ah, if wishes were horses.
These are very interesting times in Pakistan. There are accusers, there are victims, there are spectators, there is a mediator, and there is a decider. All of them, not so clean. But all of them set against the victim for something all of them are the culprits – Corruption! The civil society mainly comprising educated urban middle class is taking a position relatively simplistic, but at higher grounds morally. The media is caught up in their own game, which is mainly catering their business interests and strongly rooted right wing elements within its ranks. Political parties are grasping the opportunity to depose present set up to take its place sooner than they had anticipated. The DECIDER is a bit vengeful, and a bit obliged to the right wingers for their support during former’s bad days. So, the whole mesh can be deciphered in one sentence: the accusers are joined by the mediators and deciders to bridle the horses of the victim! This all being purely political, tends to catch on popular morality and sentiment of the have-nots. The spectators, thus, is rolling eyes on whatever is fed to them.
It is said that the Petitioners and the Honorable S. Court wanted to reverse and nullify the benefits and the harmful effects of this defunct Ordinance, but adjudicating and declaring a dead law as void is not the legal way to go about doing this. There were other ways to do this…
FLAWS IN THE NRO JUDGMENT – by: Tausif Kamal
Courtesy: CRDP, Fri, 29 Jan 2010
Finally I’ve had a chance to review the detailed NRO judgment somewhat and would like to offer the following comments on the Islamic aspects or the Islamic angle firstly and then on other shortcomings of this supposedly ‘landmark’ decision by the Pakistan’s Honorable Supreme Court.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court has ordered the powerful ISI intelligence agency to appear in court to explain what has happened to a missing political leader.
Akash Mallah went missing in October 2009 in the city of Hyderabad in the southern province of Sindh. He is believed to be held by the ISI. Pakistan’s security agencies routinely detain such suspects for “anti-state” activities. Most are held without being charged for months and even years.
Parliament empowered to change basic structure of Constitution: Aitzaz
ISLAMABAD: Former President of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Aitzaz Ahsan said the judiciary is under the Constitution, as it is applied to the judiciary as well, our sources reported Tuesday. He said the Parliament is empowered to change the fundamentals of the Constitution, adding the apex court cannot nullify the Constitutional amendment….Ahsan said, according to the Article-238, 239 no amendment in the Constitution can be challenged in any court, whatsoever; neither can the SC`s power to hear petition be challenged.
If Zardari is forced out before his term it would be the beginning of the end of our nascent restoration of democracy. I’m no supporter of PPP or Zaradari but why all the responsibility for all the country’s problems is being heaped upon one man, who has been in , power’ (whatever that means ) for not even two years.
If anybody has to go down, its “K”. He’s directing an inept war in slow motion against the enemy, Talibans/ Jihadists. Under his command GHQ has been attacked… Talibans are murdering and terrorizing the citizens of the country at will.
It has taken many years or indeed decades for the existential and debilitating problems of Taliban/ Jihadist terrorism, Baluchistan insurgency and the dead-end state of the economy to germinate and develop. They did not come about overnight. Its obvious that the reactionary forces in Pakistan, the Islamist parties like JI, right wing media and groups , pro-military establishment etc are spearheading a campaign to remove Zardari, to sidestep the PPP govt and to grab power themselves. Eventually such a move will derail whatever democracy we have. Since nurturing democracy in Pakistan is the core agenda of CRDP we all should be concerned about this possibly destructive move and I suggest that we take some action.
The Supreme Court (SC) has spoken and the nation must bow its head. The chief justice has asked members of the bar to pray for the judiciary. This too must be respected, as the Almighty alone can rescue those who wish to destroy themselves.
There is open friction between the ruling party and the court. By not restoring the SC judges earlier and letting Justice Dogar run amok with the law, the government lost face.
The recent voiding of National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) by the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) has generated an intense debate among Pakistanis. Among Sindhis, much of the debate on this topic is happening informally and on off-the-record forums as Sindhis find themselves torn between two opposing interests. On one hand the annulment of NRO has a potential to destroy the current leadership of PPP and hence eliminate what ever little say Sindhis have in the decision making process of Pakistan.
LHC issues notice to Asif Zardari in dual office case
LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday issued a notice to President Asif Ali Zardari during the hearing in the dual office case.
The legal challenge to Zardari over his two posts does not pose an immediate threat to the president but it is a reminder of the legal difficulties he faces, legal analysts said.
The Pakistan Lawyers Forum (PLF) filed a petition, or a challenge, questioning the right of the president to hold the two offices and in response, the High Court in the city of Lahore ordered Zardari’s principal secretary to explain.
“Since the president could not appear because of security reasons, the court asked his principal secretary to appear in court on May 25,” PLF president A.K. Dogar told reporters outside the court.
There is no constitutional bar on the president holding office in a political party but Dogar said the Supreme Court had in the past barred a president from holding a party post.
“Our Supreme Court judges decided in 1993 that the president should be non-partisan. He should not involve himself in political battles. He should shun politics but here he is a party head, which is illegal,” he said.
Hearing in the dual office case was then adjourned till May 27.
May 12th, 2007 should be a watershed in the history of Pakistan. On that day a military dictator and his collaborators in the London-Karachi based terrorist group stood against and confronted the popular movement in Pakistan for restoration of the deposed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
The terrorists with the connivance of the Military Establishment, unleashed a reign of terror in Karachi, that day and killed and injured scores of people, harassed media and tried to stifle any voice for democracy and justice. The people of Karachi witnessed what naked terrorism could be. The thugs who believe in political blackmail and use of violence to achieve their objectives were at their worst. At the end of the day, the coward dictator raised his both arms in front of a coward in Islamabad and showered praises at ‘his’ men in Karachi who through the use of force had stopped the Chief Justice from reaching the Sindh High Court. In his words it was the manifestation of the ‘people’s power’.
Such occurrences can’t be stopped and undemocratic forces can’t be effectively defeated if the London-Karachi based terrorists and the ex-military dictator are not taken to the courts of law for their crimes against the people, democracy and the rule of law. No amount of appeasement would stop the undemocratic and terrorist forces from raising their heads again and again and play havoc with the people.
Immediate steps should also be taken to free the cities of Karachi and Hyderabad of the arms and ammunition. It is not just the areas of North Western Pakistan that have some terrorists. There are even more dangerous terrorists in the cities of Sindh that have taken the whole country hostage. They need to be tackled and de-weaponized too.
During the session of the Parliament on Feb 15, 2010, Prime Minister, Yousaf Raz Gilani said the Judges including chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry were restored on executive order and the Restoration of the Judges should be endorsed through the Parliament. [To read report at BBC urdu, click here]
Prime Minister’s Speech in Assembly – Feb 15th 2010
LAHORE: The legal fraternity of the country remained divided over its views on the Supreme Court’s suspension of the presidential appointment of two top judges in an emergency ruling late on Saturday. Former Supreme Court Bar Association, SCBA president Ali Ahmed Kurd said the principle had been set by the SC verdict in the Al-Jihad Trust case that the senior most judge of a high court would be elevated to the Supreme Court. Barrister Zafar Ali Khan and former SC judge Fakhruddin Ebrahim also termed the president’s decision as being in accordance with the constitution. Prominent jurist Fawad Chaudhry said the president’s decision was in accordance with the constitution. He said according to Article 206 of the constitution, the judge stood as “retired” after refusing to accept the decision of elevation. People Lawyers Forum leaders Tanvir Hashmi and Rana Sufiyan Ali said the president’s decision was in accordance with the constitution and the SC verdict in the Al-Jehad Trust case.However, former Punjab advocate general Ashtar Ausaf said the president’s decision is unconstitutional as he acted against the CJP’s recommendations. Senior lawyer Dr Khalid Ranjha said a “vacuum is being deliberately created” to pave the way for third party interference.
Alarming indeed. Yesterday, chief sahib was sitting with Zardari with his arm on the back of the chair. He USED to sit with both hands squeezed between his thighs. In astrological circles, this is regarded as a very bad sign….
Having said that, I dont think much will change for the vast majority of our people even if chief sahib makes a move. The crisis is systemic and will continue. If the PPP had managed more political change, then the relapse into military rule would have been a huge disaster. As it is, they have not really been able to grab the initiative at all. Since we havent moved FORWARD as much as was needed, the setback may also be less of a change. People inside the country will be able to give a more accurate reading of the situation..
In any case, there is a fair amount of development work going on in infrastructure now and its financed and monitored by outside powers, so its likely to continue. IF chief saheb makes his move, then there will be fewer sindhis and more brigadiers trying to get in the way of the people actually doing the work.
The transformation from Jihadi state to normal country will be pushed back a bit, but with Anne Patterson sahiba keeping an eye on things, who knows, even that may not change much either way….
Like the full bench of the Supreme court (SCP) judges, the military has no choice but to accept modernistic, universal views to save the state by eliminating primitive elements. Nevertheless, just like the SCP, obscurantist military officials, especially some retired hawks, are free to make loud noises while the moderates have to work silently
The NRO judgement alludes to contradictions and the torturous transition Pakistan is going through. The basic contradiction is manifested by the very fact that the highest judicial forum in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan had to rely on the historical judgements of the courts of secular states. A few examples have been taken from Islam — Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) concept of equality — and reference to the notion of tauba. However, the court made it clear that these religious notions are taken to be secondary and used to strengthen the judgement, which is based on commonly practiced international law. Why such a contradiction?
The problem is that, whatever the republic of Pakistan is labelled, the country contains a more or less modern populace in relative terms. Furthermore, society has a consensus over the parliamentary type of democracy, in which every voter has an equal weight, requiring specific laws, rules and traditions. The religious parties or modern Islamic scholars cannot address the issue faced by such modern democracies, parliamentary or otherwise.
JERUSALEM – An Israeli man hurled his sneakers at Israel’s Supreme Court chief justice on Wednesday during a hearing on medical marijuana, hitting her between the eyes, breaking her glasses and knocking her off her chair.
Dorit Beinisch, who is in her late 60s, was not seriously hurt, and the incident appeared to be an isolated one, though there have been rising numbers of threats against the judiciary. The judge was hit by the first shoe and knocked to the ground as the second one flew overhead, witness Michael Eden said.
The decision of the Pakistan Supreme Court on the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) was a foregone conclusion. This was a badly written law, easily susceptible to promoting discrimination, corruption, misplaced classification of prosecuted groups of people (the corrupt, murderers, rapists, etc). Additionally, it violates the basic tenets of the constitution. However, the Supreme Court decision manifests contradictions and lack of historical perspective that has to be given primacy in national decision-making.
ISLAMABAD: Senior lawyer of the Supreme Court Abdul Hafeez Pirzada on Wednesday said the apex court could call the Army for help in getting its verdict implemented. He said the Army was a part of the executive and was bound to obey the court’s order under Article 190 of the Constitution.
LAHORE: Former Inter-Services Intelligence official Khalid Khawaja resubmitted a petition in the Supreme Court (SC) challenging the eligibility of President Asif Ali Zardari, a private TV channel reported on Wednesday. According to the channel, the petitioner has challenged President Zardari’s eligibility under Article 248 of the constitution. In his petition, Khawaja argued that he was a direct victim of Article 248, as he had been abducted during former president Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf’s tenure. Earlier, the apex court had rejected his petition citing a few objections. daily times monitor.
Saeed Ulzaman Sidiqui became Chief Justice after the illicit firing of Sajad Shah (who was a Sindhi) and was a collaborator of Nawaz Sharif in that firing. The discussion provides a lot of detail about the history of justice and rule in Pakistan. Indeed, a comment made in the discussion that Pakistan is probably the only country in the world where might is always right is enshrined in the law. I would recommend this video to all those who are always in the pursuit of truth and finding out the role and character of those who today claim to be champions of democracy and justice.
LONDON: The top MQM leadership strongly believes and fears that its days of continuing a working relationship with the PPP, led by President Asif Ali Zardari, are over and unless a quick and effective remedy is found, Sindh and especially Karachi will slide deep into chaos and anarchy.
NAUDERO: Hearing President Asif Ali Zardari on Sunday was a painful experience. All, including the diehard PPP jiyalas, were stunned. Their co-chairman had just declared war on every institution, without telling them who were the enemies, what they were doing and why. It was aptly described by a journalist on Facebook as Zardari’s “farewell address”.
Now that the NRO problem has apparently been resolved people are jumping with joy. There are some commentators who believe that this represents the strengthening of the system and democracy, that the Supreme Court verdict is a warning for presumptuous, overly ambitious and corrupt politicians.
The decision certainly is a milestone, but what does it mean for the overall learning process of the various stakeholders in the country’s power politics? And will it influence the future of Pakistan’s politics? These are two basic points to ponder.
Although it can be argued that the NRO was always controversial and people were eager to sort the matter out soon after it came into existence, there was always the possibility of the issue getting sidelined due to workable political arrangements.
During the Second World War, Winston Churchill, the then British prime minister, wrote to the lord chancellor, the chief justice, to ensure that the judiciary delivered justice.
Concerned, the lord chancellor asked Churchill why he had expressed such a fear when his attention was focused on how to stop the advancing Nazis. Churchill replied that as long as people were sure of getting justice, they would fight for their country even in the middle of reverses.